Michael Rexen has traveled a ways to get here. The artist better known as M. Rexen was born in the United Arab Emirates before traversing the Middle East and Africa over many years. He ultimately settled in Copenhagen, and in Denmark, he’s already become known for the rambunctious live shows he and his ten-piece band put on. He’s even earned a gold stamp of approval from Noisey’s Danish arm.
“Henrï,” M. Rexen’s newest song and video, is precisely the sort of unorthodox riot that might be expected from a renowned performer with such an interesting backstory. It kicks off with a gradually coalescing sneer that’s almost immediately replaced by a bass drum stomp and ebullient horns—some live, some synthetic, it seems—and over the course of “Henrï,” these elements remain the song’s backbone. What keeps the song exciting is how Rexen varies their usage.
For the song’s first half, Rexen backs his breathy croon predominantly with that kick groove, but about halfway through the song, he accelerates the horn layering to almost theatrical effect. Although the brass flourishes recede again for just a bit, the song’s final couple of minutes see them returning full-force, turning “Henrï” into a boisterous, jovial rallying cry that lands somewhere among the confines of chamber pop, Broadway music, noise rock, and pop punk. It’s nothing short of a spectacle.
Equally high-fare is the music video for “Henrï,” in which Rexen and a friend—presumably Henrï himself, or an actor playing him—dance artfully and often seductively in clothes ripped straight from the ’80s (or, sometimes, few clothes at all). Rexen and Henrï rotate among their many outfits and makeup styles with the speed and precision of a revolver, almost as though to say that anyone and everyone is beautiful, whether dressed to kill or not dressed at all. As Rexen sings, “The one and only man for me is Henrï,” and then, later, “Henrï, you’re the most beautiful person I know/best person I know,” it’s clear that his travels have led him to exactly what he was looking for.